Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 3 Hansard (24 March) . . Page.. 773 ..
MR STANHOPE (Leader of the Opposition) (4.02): Mr Speaker, I will not dwell too much on the past. I think Mr Rugendyke, to the extent that he has expressed a very clear disappointment with the Attorney-General's lack of attention to this matter, speaks for all members of the Assembly. Mr Rugendyke expressed so succinctly - I cannot remember the precise word - the level of disquietude which I think we all feel as to the Attorney's incompetence.
There is just one thing that I will say, though, about the genesis of this matter. I do think that the Attorney has been very artful in the way that he has sought to explain away exactly what happened last May, or earlier than that, when the coroner first wrote to him. The Attorney did write to me on 8 May. He wrote to me attaching a letter which he had written to Mr Osborne. The Attorney's letter to me suggested that the Attorney would be pleased to receive any views that I might have on the matter. The Attorney's letter to me was a request of me for my views on the matter and the Attorney attached to that letter a letter which he had earlier written to Mr Osborne as chair of the Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety. I responded to the Attorney with my views. He asked me for my views; that was it.
Mr Humphries: On prospective legislation.
MR STANHOPE: He asked me for my views, any views. The Attorney said that he would be pleased to receive any views I may have on this matter and I gave - - -
Mr Humphries: Retrospectivity.
MR STANHOPE: No, not at all. You did not ask for views on retrospectivity. You said to me, in your words, Attorney:
I would be pleased to receive any views you may have on this matter.
I gave you my views. I said:
I have read your letter to Mr Osborne ... about the possible extension of the limitation period where an Inquest, Inquiry or Royal Commission is held.
That is what I said. I said:
I would support the proposed amendments.
I went on:
However, in its present form (provided an inquiry is in progress) the limitation period could extend far into the future. I would therefore suggest that an appropriate maximum period be specified within which the findings of the Inquiry would need to be presented.
I was suggesting that we did not want a limitation period for ever and ever. I continued: